Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill: Criminal Justice

Department of Corrections And Rehabilitation (5225)

Effective July 1, 2005, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was created pursuant to the Governor’s Reorganization Plan 1 of 2005 and Chapter 10, Statutes of 2005 (SB 737, Romero). All departments that previously reported to the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (YACA) were consolidated into CDCR and include YACA, the California Department of Corrections, Youth Authority, Board of Corrections, Board of Prison Terms, and the Commission on Correctional Peace Officers’ Standards and Training.

The CDCR is responsible for the incarceration, training, education, and care of adult felons and nonfelon narcotic addicts, as well as juvenile offenders. The CDCR also supervises and treats adult and juvenile parolees, and is responsible for the apprehension and reincarceration of those parolees who commit new offenses or parole violations. The department also sets minimum standards for the operation of local detention facilities and selection and training of law enforcement personnel, as well as provides local assistance in the form of grants to local governments for crime prevention and reduction programs.

The department operates 33 adult prisons, including 12 reception centers, a central medical facility, a treatment center for narcotic addicts under civil commitment, and a substance abuse facility for incarcerated felons. The CDCR also operates eight juvenile correctional facilities, including three reception centers. In addition, CDCR manages 13 Community Correctional Facilities, 49 adult and juvenile conservation camps, the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center, and 188 adult and juvenile parole offices, as well as houses inmates in 5 out–of–state correctional facilities.

Budget Overview

Proposed CDCR Operations Budget

The budget proposes total expenditures of $10.1 billion for CDCR operations in 2008–09 from all fund sources. This is $14 million, or less than 1 percent, above the revised estimate for current–year expenditures. The department’s budget includes increased spending for projected increases in the prison and parole populations, inmate and parolee rehabilitation programs, responses to federal court cases relating to inmate medical and dental care and other issues, peace officer recruitment and training, and inflation adjustments. This additional spending is largely offset by proposed budget reductions, primarily related to reducing the inmate and parolee populations through two policies: (1) release of certain inmates from prison up to 20 months early and (2) summary parole supervision. Figure 1 shows the total operating expenditures estimated in the Governor’s budget for the current year and proposed for the budget year.


Figure 1

Total Expenditures for CDCRa Operations

(Dollars in Millions)












Juvenile Institution and Parole Operations





Adult Institution and Parole





Board of Parole Hearings










Budget Reduction Proposals











a  California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

b  Includes Corrections Standards Authority and Community Partnerships.

   Detail may not total due to rounding.


General Fund Expenditures. Proposed General Fund operating expenditures for the budget year total $9.8 billion, a decrease of $13 million, or less than 1 percent, below the revised current–year estimate.

Federal Fund Expenditures. The CDCR operating budget includes $29 million in federal funds in the budget year. Most of these funds are distributed to local governments for criminal justice programs. In addition, the Governor’s budget assumes that the state will receive about $102 million from the federal government during 2008–09 as partial reimbursement of CDCR’s costs (estimated to be almost $1 billion in the budget year) for incarcerating inmates in prison who are illegally in the United States and have committed crimes in California. The federal funds are not included in CDCR’s budget display, but instead are scheduled as “offsets” to total state General Fund expenditures.

Current–Year Operating Deficiency

The department’s budget proposes $53 million in additional General Fund expenditures in the current year compared to the 2007–08 Budget Act. This amount is lower than recent budget deficiencies for CDCR, including $64 million in 2006–07. Figure 2 shows the most significant components of the additional spending estimated for the current year. Each of these proposals is described in more detail below.


Figure 2

2007-08 General Fund Deficiency CDCRa

(In Millions)

Deficiency Item


Inmate and parolee populations


Armstrong court order


L.H. lawsuit





a  California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


Inmate and Parolee Populations. The administration requests $35 million for additional operating costs related to projected increases in the inmate and parolee populations. This amount does not include offsetting savings that will occur from the implementation of the administration’s budget reductions—20–month early release from prison and summary parole—that would reduce the inmate and parolee populations. These savings are accounted for in Control Section 4.44 of the budget proposal. We discuss CDCR’s inmate and parole population caseload request in more detail in the “Adult Corrections” section of this analysis.

Armstrong Court Order. The budget identifies $16 million in costs to develop and implement plans to meet court orders in the case of Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger. These court orders require CDCR prisons to be in compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act and ensure that disabled inmates and parolees have equal opportunity to participate in programs, services, and activities as nondisabled inmates and parolees.

L.H. Lawsuit. The administration requests $2 million to meet the requirements of the L.H. v. Schwarzenegger lawsuit related to the state juvenile parole system. This funding would provide additional staffing and resources to meet the due process rights of state wards in parole–related hearings, improve audio equipment for use in hearings, and develop improved policies and procedures for the state juvenile parole system.

Capital Outlay Budget Proposal

The budget includes $1.1 billion in state funds for capital outlay projects. Of this total, about $350 million would be provided through the General Fund. The remaining $778 million is proposed to be funded through lease–revenue bonds, in particular for projects that have been previously authorized under Chapter 7, Statutes of 2007 (AB 900, Solorio), which provides funding to construct new housing and medical facilities for state inmates as well as local jails.

Of the $350 million proposed in General Fund spending, about $317 million is for capital outlay projects previously approved by the Legislature. These funds would be used mainly for infrastructure projects (such as improvements to sewer, water, and electrical capacity) authorized under Chapter 7, as well as to continue various types of projects initiated in past budgets. The budget proposes $34 million in General Fund spending for new capital outlay projects (such as replacement of dorms, improvements to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and various minor projects).

Of the $778 million proposed for lease–revenue bond projects, about $447 million has already been authorized by recent legislation such as Chapter 7, including $97 million for the Central Health Services Facility at California State Prison, San Quentin. The remaining $331 million is to construct a new condemned inmate complex at San Quentin and reflects a significant increase in estimated project costs. The administration proposed, but then withdrew, a similar project from the current–year budget in part due to legislative concerns about rising costs.

The Governor’s budget also proposes to change the use of $2.2 billion in lease–revenue funding already authorized by the Legislature under Chapter 7. Specifically, the administration proposes to divert this funding to the federal court–appointed Receiver overseeing inmate medical care instead of using this funding to construct infill beds and reentry facilities as originally approved by the Legislature. While the Legislature had not received the statutory language related to this change at the time this analysis was prepared, we assume this funding could be used by the Receiver to renovate existing clinical and office space for medical operations on the grounds of state prisons, as well as to build new medical and mental health beds.

Figure 3 displays the administration’s spending proposal for capital outlay projects in CDCR for 2008–09.


Figure 3

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Capital Outlay Budget 2008-09

(In Millions)

Capital Outlay Project


Death Row (San Quentin state prison)


Infrastructure projects


Reentry facilities


Infill housing


Central Health Facility (San Quentin state prison)


Other prison medical projects


Other projects


  Total Capital Outlay


Funding Source


General Fund


Lease-revenue bonds


  Total, All Funds



   Detail may not total due to rounding.


Department Has Not Provided Reports to Legislature

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has not submitted a number of reports required in association with the 2006–07 and 2007–08 Budget Acts. The lack of information hinders legislative oversight of state programs. We recommend that the Legislature direct the department to report at budget hearings on the status of these reports.

The 2007–08 Budget Act, the Supplemental Report of the 2007–08 Budget Act, and other legislation directed CDCR to report on a number of its programs and activities, including spending on lawsuits against the department, implementation of rehabilitation programs, and a master plan for capital outlay projects. The Legislature’s purpose in requiring these reports was to exercise legislative oversight by holding the department accountable for its use of funds and staff in achieving statutory objectives and goals. Many of these reports were required to be submitted by January 2008 in order to provide the Legislature with pertinent information as it reviews the department’s 2008–09 budget request. For example, the Legislature required the department to provide department–wide performance measures.

At the time this analysis was prepared, the department had not provided 4 of 11 required reports. Figure 4 lists these reports, their due dates, and the status of those reports at the time we prepared this analysis. We would also note that there are an additional five departmental reports due to the Legislature prior to the end of the current fiscal year. Topics of these reports include parolee employment, prison operating budgets, and the status of the State Commission on Juvenile Justice. In addition, CDCR has not provided the Legislature with a report that the Governor directed the department to prepare regarding the transfer of medical guarding and transportation officers to the federal court–appointed Receiver for inmate medical services. In 2006–07, the department also failed to provide two legislatively required reports and a third report that was funded with a budget augmentation but not specifically required to be provided to the Legislature. Specifically, these were reports on health care performance measures, telemedicine, and in–prison sex offender treatment. 


Figure 4

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Status of Legislatively Required Reports

Report Topic

Due Date





Capital outlay master plan


Not received

Lawsuit tracking


Not received

Performance measures in budget display



Performance measures in supplemental report



Adult Institutions and Parole



Prison to employment plan

10/1/07, 1/15/08


Recidivism reduction programs evaluation plan



High-risk sex offender research


Not received

Rehabilitation funds in AB 900a



Payments to released inmates



Rehabilitation and treatment plan


Not received


a  Chapter 7, Statutes of 2007 (AB 900, Solorio).


Analyst Recommendation. It is important that the Legislature have a means of obtaining information it deems necessary to exercise its oversight function in the process of making policy and budget decisions. Therefore, we recommend that the Legislature require CDCR to report at budget hearings on the status of any reports not yet provided, as well as the reasons for the delays  

Return to Judicial and Criminal Justice Table of Contents, 2008-09 Budget Analysis
Return to Full Table of Contents, 2008-09 Budget Analysis